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For Sandy Clough, Retirement Is Just The Beginning

“The best thing for me in radio and in talk radio was working with a person I connected to,” Clough said.

Derek Futterman




One of Denver’s most notable pundits, Sandy Clough, grew up in the suburbs of Westchester County on the sounds of the aggressive, often-combative talk shows taking place just south in “The Big Apple.” 40 years later, he is stepping away from the microphone moving towards a new chapter of his life and grateful for what the industry has bestowed upon him: a chance to be heard and express his nascent infatuation with sports.

Clough remembers being in his bedroom late at night when he was younger – the moon shining brightly outside as the nighttime hours ran their course. By the looks of his room, everything would appear to be normal – but appearances sometimes misrepresent reality. Akin to how a child hides a recently-lost baby tooth under their pillow with the hopes of finding money the next morning, Clough had a transistor radio concealed with the faint yet energetic sounds of sporting events. Whether it was the Mets, Yankees, Knicks. or Rangers, he would absorb the atmosphere and the game itself while the broadcasters painted a picture of the setting through their linguistic command and technical cognizance.

Beyond that, he was captivated by radio as a medium and its ability to transmit the mellifluous sounds of competition, debate and news to listeners by means of an AM or FM signal. He wanted to be a part of it by moving to the other side of the speaker, serving as a source of intrigue and imagination for listeners; their investment in sports notwithstanding.

“I was always attracted to sports,” Clough said. “….I just was captivated by it and really as much by radio as by sports. I’m one of the luckiest people around in that I got to pursue, as a career, something that melded the two.”

As a native New Yorker, Clough had primarily been exposed to the sound of local radio in the 1970s – a time before the launch of WFAN, the first-ever radio station to solely adopt the sports talk format. That is not to say the landscape was bereft of programming discussing sports before that; however, they were not on stations with that focus for the entirety of the day. Even outside of the realm of sports talk though, there was a certain sound indicative of New York City that resonated with Clough and served as the early foundation of his distinctive style.

“I’m an introvert in my personal life, but on the air I really like to perform,” Clough said. “I’ve always tried to be honest and fair but I had some incredible models growing up – both play-by-play broadcasters and talk show hosts.”

In 1979, Clough accepted a full-time radio job in Denver, with KOA 850 AM, a news radio outlet serving as the flagship station of the National Football League’s Denver Broncos. While there, he was the producer of what he refers to as “the best talk show” he has ever heard called Sports from A-to-Z, featuring play-by-play announcer Al Albert and sports anchor Ron Zappolo. Both Albert and Zappolo served as integral mentors for Clough as he sought to make a name for himself in the industry and offered him different perspectives regarding hosting.

“It gave me a chance to find out right away what the business was about and about the nitty-gritty details,” Clough said. “….Their passion rubbed off on me; their preparation rubbed off on me; their personalities rubbed off on me…. They were great people; I loved producing for them and I could have done that forever.”

The staff at KOA 850 AM was largely made up of play-by-play announcers, meaning that many of them were often on the road simultaneously. At 22 years old, he was placed on the air on various different talk shows for the purposes of lack of availability or interest and was willing to do anything it took to cement himself as a part of the industry. Clough was the regular host of Bronco Talk, an hour-and-a-half show following Denver Broncos games in which he would deliver a monologue about the action and then take calls from fans.

This came at the cusp of the debut of Broncos quarterback John Elway and the development of the team into a perennial contender, giving fans a voice with which they could celebrate wins or lament about losses – on a few conditions.

“Many people who [listened] to me didn’t think I was celebrating or consoling much of anyone,” Clough said. “It was a lot of fun to go back and forth with callers, and all I asked was that they not misrepresent what I had said and [that] they have their facts right… and if they were wrong to acknowledge, ‘I was wrong on the facts,’ or ‘I’m sorry I misrepresented what you said.’”

Across town, Carl Scheer had crafted the nearby Denver Nuggets franchise, then-part of the American Basketball Association, into a 65-win team in the 1974-75 season. Once Clough began taking the air and talking about Denver’s sports teams, Scheer took a liking to his hosting style as it was something not previously heard.

Additionally, Clough made it a point to attend sporting events around the city of Denver to interact with players, coaches and other team personnel, along with the fans to give him a better understanding of his audience. Even when he was working as the color commentator during home games for the National Hockey League’s Colorado Rockies in the year prior to the team’s move and subsequent rebrand as the New Jersey Devils, Clough still found a way to attend at least 30 of the team’s 41 regular season home games.

Another reason he traveled beyond the studio walls was to truly gain an understanding of why teams won and lost games, as it better informed his preparation and parlance while working. Additionally, it allowed people he had discussed or critiqued on the air to have a chance to respond to him face-to-face, just as Albert and Zappolo had taught him. In this, his credibility in the marketplace was built and a sense of respect was garnered towards him among his peers.

“There were a number of… people along the way – coaches; players; front office people; owners even – who gave me the benefit of their wisdom,” Clough said. “It didn’t mean I didn’t ever criticize them because I did, but I never criticized anyone or praised anyone based on whether I liked them personally or not.”

In 1990, Clough moved to KYBG-AM, a small sports radio station owned by Century Broadcasting at which he continued to cover sports in the Denver area. Upon the federal adoption of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 — most notably the clause removing limits on the number of national AM/FM stations an entity could own — smaller stations were bought out. Because of this, employees were often put out of a job especially if the station switched formats. The cross-ownership of media and ability for anyone to have a stake in communications was now encouraged, harming the existence of independent stations akin to KYBG-AM.

After a short time out of work and cultivation of fanbases for two new teams – Major League Baseball’s Colorado Rockies and the National Hockey League’s Colorado Avalanche – Clough joined KFFN. The station was widely known as 950 AM The Fan until the station’s change to the 104.3 FM frequency about a decade later.

Over his 25-and-a-half years with the station, Clough has been adroit in his ability to connect with an audience – regardless of whether he was hosting the show solo or with partner(s). Some of those partners have included Scott Hastings, Brandon Stokley, Orlando Franklin and, most recently, Shawn Drotar on their weekday nighttime show Sandy and Shawn.

“The best thing for me in radio and in talk radio was working with a person I connected to,” Clough said. “[When] there was a chemistry from the beginning, that was the best. The worst is working with someone, not necessarily someone you personally dislike, but someone with whom you have no chemistry and nothing really clicks.”

Clough’s preparation for each show, whether or not he was hosting solo, was to expect no callers and to have three hours to fill by himself. By preparing in this way, Clough was always ready to talk about storylines that extended far beyond the superficial nature of a sporting event and made sure to come across as more erudite than sciolistic to his audience. While the situation never unfolded, there were many times on the air where the preparation benefited him and allowed him to be an engaging and informative source of entertainment regardless of which daypart he was hosting in, all of which he has vast experience in much like his broadcast idol Allen Berg.

“Allen did shows early in the day [and] late in the day,” Clough explained. “He could do straight, hard interviews as well as anybody. When he was on at night, he was more free-wheeling [and] that made sense to me [because] at night, you’re dealing with more of the hard-core sports fans. Early in the day and really maybe up until drive time in the afternoon, you’re dealing with fans that are a little more casual.”

The nature of audience interaction in talk radio has changed as consumption habits and technology have evolved. As a result, there has been an alteration in the fundamental structure of a radio program in which fewer listeners call in to offer their opinions but still engaging with the show.

“As time has gone on in talk radio, we’re less and less reliant on phone calls and more on texts, for example, in communicating directly with the audience,” Clough stated. “The shows are much more guest-oriented now.”

One thing Clough never became invested in over his career though was the use of social media platforms. He has no social media accounts of his own and, during his career, relied on connecting with the audience in more traditional ways while being open to progressions elsewhere.

“I saw too many friends get into trouble and lose their jobs – even lose their careers – because of what had happened on social media,” Clough explained. “….I just thought the risk far outweighed the benefits. I didn’t like the vibe I got from social media; not all of the time but much of the time. If I can’t communicate over the course of three hours clearly and effectively, then I shouldn’t be in radio. I don’t need to be on social media telling people what I had for breakfast. Nobody cares about me that much.”

Maintaining a strong sense of objectivity is an essential aspect of journalists’ ability to provide unbiased coverage towards the teams they cover. Being able to identify professional obligations over personal rooting interests meant that rather than rooting for any specific team, it is better to root for good stories and topics that would stimulate conversation that would appeal to the audience.

“I admired and respected individuals but I never rooted for or against teams,” Clough said. “I know this sounds pollyannaish but I rooted for good stories. The two greatest stories in sports are ‘Big guy wins’ and ‘Big guy loses.’ The only thing I didn’t enjoy as much was mediocrity; just being average. Either be very good or very bad.”

Nonetheless, there were times throughout his career where Clough believes he moved beyond simply having a professional relationship, threatening his ability to legitimately maintain his objectivity.

“I don’t think it affected my commentary [or] made it any less unvarnished [and] I don’t believe I ever pulled any punches, but I got too close to a few people,” he said. “Even subconsciously if that had an effect and at times maybe it did, I have to concede that point. I’m a human being; if I’m treated well, I will treat the other person well in turn. I always tried to keep my relationships respectful and friendly as it relates to having open lines of communication but… I always tried to maintain a certain distance.”

104.3 The Fan, which is now owned and operated by Bonneville International, is currently led by Program Director Raj Sharan who has worked at the station in some capacity since 2016, including as a show producer for Clough. Sharan began his career in public relations and moved into radio in 2010 with the Front Range Sports Network, developing the expertise and technical acumen necessary to lead a major market radio station, ranked No. 13 in Barrett Sports Media’s top 20 major market radio stations of 2021.

“Like so many other Denver sports fans, I spent hours glued to The Fan listening to Sandy Clough entertain and educate,” Sharan said in a statement announcing Clough’s retirement. “It was thrilling to have the opportunity to produce Sandy as there’s never been a more prepared host. Sandy’s passion came through the speakers in captivating fashion, and his legacy will be forever engrained into The Fan, carrying on for generations to come.”

Clough has sought to have professional relationships with his colleagues and managers over the years and has utilized the various program directors he has worked under for feedback and advice on how to best craft his shows to create a solid on-air product. Through being coached and meticulously preparing and understanding his audience, he has cultivated on-air products that finish well in the ratings and, in turn, are able to gain more revenue.

“They critiqued me, but if criticism was necessary they would offer it and I welcomed that,” Clough said of working with program directors over the years. “….With every program director I’ve ever dealt with, I explained [that] I wanted to be coached hard. I was coached hard, especially when I was younger and I would make mistakes.”

Now after 40 years on the air, Clough is retiring from working as a full-time host with 104.3 The Fan, ending a robust broadcast career interacting with listeners and covering Denver’s sports teams. The change was prompted by a culmination of different factors, along with a keen awareness of the future of radio as a communications medium in an era with more media outlets than ever before.

“Increasingly, radio executives [and] radio owners are shifting their emphasis to digital,” Clough explained. “I believe as much as newspapers have evolved to the point where most of all newspaper reading is done online now, that will be true with radio. There will be packages, I think in the not too distant future, offered for every radio station and people can subscribe if they choose and get all the content they want for a certain price. That resulted in the deemphasis and even elimination of nighttime radio.”

At this point, Clough felt it would be best to exit from the business to pursue other opportunities in which he can make an impact; however, that does not mean he may never consider returning to radio in the future. For now though, he plans to take at least six months in retirement to see where his life takes him and will reevaluate a potential return or becoming involved in sports media in some other way down the road.

“I’m a traditionalist; I’m a purist; I’m even a perfectionist,” Clough said. “I’d like to think I was adaptable, but this seemed like a good time to get out of at least full-time work at 104.3 The Fan.”

Clough leaves 104.3 The Fan as the co-host of the highest-ranked talk show in Denver in the 9 p.m. to midnight time period amid strong ratings for the station as a whole. Moreover, he is grateful for the recognition he has received from his friends and colleagues since his retirement became official this past Friday.

For aspiring professionals looking to build a career in sports media though, Clough reminds them that they are not indispensable no matter how good they think they are, meaning it is essential to leave your ego at the door. Aside from that, while being versatile is likely to increase your value to whatever broadcast entity you work for, it remains crucial to prepare as a host and embrace your own personality. It is what helped Sandy Clough work in sports media for the last 40 years, leaving behind a legacy and reputation among Denver sports fans as a trusted, honest commentator ready to demonstrate his intelligence and share his opinions to the masses.

“Chart your own path, be authentic, be yourself and even if you’re different, hold on to that,” Clough said. “We have too many cookie-cutter people in our business now; too many people who listen to something and decide: ‘Well, that’s the way I’ll go. I’ll just go along and get along with everybody’ or ‘I’ll be controversial for the sake of being controversial. I’ll just say outrageous things all the time.’ Those are at the two extreme edges of the spectrum [so] find those gray areas.”

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Ian Rapoport Is Competing Against Everyone

“When I’m working, when I’m not working – my brain is still going on overdrive.”

Derek Futterman




The 2023 NFL Draft was a weekend filled with speculation, intrigue and musing among football fans and experts alike. After two quarterbacks were selected with the first two picks – C.J. Stroud by the Jacksonville Jaguars; and Bryce Young by the Houston Texans – Ian Rapoport had the inclination that something was about to break at the event in Kansas City.

The third pick of the night was held by the Arizona Cardinals, but through previous intel, Rapoport knew there was a chance the team would trade it. His phone then lit up with a text message from a source that simply read, “Texans trading.” Receiving a message of this magnitude takes years of networking, credibility and immense trust from the people you cover. Rapoport has worked hard to attain all of them. 

He replied by asking, “Did the Texans trade up to three?,” as the team was not set to pick again until No. 12 overall. Once he got confirmation of the scenario, he began to visibly shake in excitement and captured the attention of the NFL Network team.

“I sit there with a camera in front of me that’s not always on air – this is during the Draft – and the producer gets in my ear and he goes, ‘Can you go on air with whatever you have?,’ and I just say, ‘Yes.’” Rapoport recalled. “And then I hear Rich Eisen go, ‘Ian, you have news,’ and I was able to break that the Texans have traded up to three to go get Will Anderson.”

This is the craft through which Rapoport has cultivated a successful journalism career, ultimately distinguishing him as NFL Network’s goto insider. He hardly ever separates himself from the job, equipped with an unparalleled work ethic to ensure he can communicate messages accurately and in a timely manner. While some people may argue that he is in direct competition with others in his position, such as Adam Schefter of ESPN, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports and Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk and NBC Sports, the reality of the situation is that it is Rapoport vs. the world.

“It’s such a small world now and everyone is interconnected – and with Twitter, literally anyone could break a story and have it go viral,” Rapoport said. “Obviously, you want everything first, but really you’re competing against everyone that exists because anyone could get the story at any moment.”

Work-life balance in such a role is usually quite insurmountable in today’s dynamic, interminable breaking news environment. Rapoport strives to find some level of normalcy in his life by playing golf and attending his sons’ sporting events. In the end though, he knows the world of football never sleeps, and it is up to him to remain in the know at all hours of the day, essentially always on standby to break the next big story.

“I do not turn my phone off because that’s actually way more stressful,” Rapoport said. “At least now when my phone’s on and near me, if something crazy happens, I can react rather than having a fake relaxation moment and then being caught off guard with something.”

Rapoport recognized that journalism was the field for him almost immediately after stepping onto the Columbia University campus. He worked his way up at The Dial to ultimately become its associate sports editor. In the summer preceding his senior year, he landed a coveted internship with ESPN where he gained invaluable experience in the world of television production. 

By the time he graduated, Rapoport envisioned himself becoming a nationally acclaimed sportswriter, but he knew it was going to require he start small. Three hundred eleven job applications and two interviews later, he landed a part-time role with The Journal News in Westchester, N.Y. covering high school sports. It gave him a start in the highly-competitive business – and kept him close to home while trying many new things.

Two years later, he found himself moving from the bright lights of New York City to the quaint town of Starkville, Mississippi for a notable opportunity. He had landed a job covering the Mississippi State Bulldogs for The Clarion-Ledger in the nearby capital city of Jackson and was under the direction of sports editor Rusty Hampton.

“I knew how to write, but I really didn’t know how to report,” Rapoport said. “He was probably the best [at] showing me, ‘This is all about reporting. It’s all about telling people something they don’t know rather than how well you can pen a sentence.’ To be really valuable to society or your newspaper, you really need to inform rather than entertain. I think he was probably the first and best person to teach me that.”

After spending two years in Mississippi, Rapoport became a beat reporter for The Birmingham News tasked with following the Alabama Crimson Tide. Just months into his new role, the program made a coaching change and hired Nick Saban, who has since led the program to six national titles. 

Rapoport learned the thoroughness necessary to cover the Southeastern Conference as he rapidly watched the program become a perennial contender. In turn, he became an eminent college football reporter and his work began to be consumed nationally.

Simultaneously, Bill Belichick, another accomplished football head coach in his own right, was in the process of trying to lead the New England Patriots back to championship glory. Known to be stoic and restrained in his press conferences, reporters asking him questions knew extrapolating answers was not the easiest of tasks. 

When Rapoport saw a job opening to cover the team with the Boston Herald that required NFL experience, he knew that he was not qualified verbatim per se. Yet he figured the experience he had in covering Saban and Alabama would serve him well in the role, and articulated such in a protracted email to the newspaper’s editors. His strategy worked, proving why Rapoport is considered one of the industry’s best communicators at the micro and macro levels.

“You don’t see a lot of sources within the Patriots or sources within Alabama – there’s not a lot of that,” Rapoport said. “So I learned to report despite that and kind of work the edges and get the information I needed, despite head coaches who weren’t always the most forthcoming with information.”

NFL Network oftentimes has local beat reporters on the air to interact with studio talent and give their perspectives about teams, and it was something Rapoport did while at the Boston Herald. He had no television experience outside of other appearances he made on Comcast New England and certainly no intention to pursue the medium as a career. 

In Super Bowl XLVI, the New York Giants overcame the New England Patriots, who were undefeated for the year entering the game. Rapoport was on hand for the proceedings, and shortly afterwards was called into a meeting with NFL Network executives. 

He didn’t know he was interviewing for a job until he asked just why he had been summoned. He expressed his lack of television experience to the executives, who said the network would teach him everything he needed to know. 

Once the meeting concluded, Rapoport called his wife, who he had met while living in Starkville, Mississippi, and told her what had just happened. She tempered his expectations, warning him not to get his hopes up as he remained optimistic. One month later, Rapoport received a job offer and found himself moving once again – this time to the Lone Star State.

“I hired an agent and moved to Dallas and basically spent the next year reporting on the Cowboys and some other things being very, very bad at TV, but learning and eventually figuring it out,” Rapoport said. “At the time, this guy, Eric Weinberger, who was our boss, kind of mentioned to me the possibility of transitioning [me] from reporter to insider.”

Rapoport acknowledged that he did not have the contacts necessary to effectively work as a league insider for a national outlet, but through his years of experience, he knew how to network and he was ready and willing to take the challenge. 

Once he began the new position, Rapoport, along with reporter Michael Silver, was on the road for Thursday Night Football and contributed to its pregame and halftime coverage. While his television skills improved, Rapoport was hard at work bolstering his contacts and took somewhat of a geographical approach. 

Every time he arrived in a new city, he would contact anyone and everyone he could conjure up, including general managers, scouts and head coaches. If he could not schedule a meeting time with them, he would introduce himself by roaming the sidelines at practices and before games. He engaged in a similar practice before the NFL Draft Combine, training camps and the Super Bowl along with other premier events, always staying focused on the task at hand.

“It probably took me five or six years to get a baseline of sources where if something happened, I had someone to call,” Rapoport said. “And then it took me a couple more years to get to the point where I would know before a lot of people when something was about to happen. It’s all a multi-step process, and just [the] layering and layering and layering of sources is really the sort of engine that drives this thing.”

Ian Rapoport always attempts to triangulate his sources to verify information before he releases it publicly. There is no guarantee sources are always truthful or acting in a professional manner. Therefore, it is incumbent on a journalist to ensure the validity of content before publishing it themselves. 

“If you’re only right some of the time, then none of it is really worth it,” Rapoport expressed, “because then you say something and they’re like, ‘Well, wow, that’s a big story if this is true.’ The whole point of doing this is when I pop up on TV or when people see my Twitter alerts or whatever, they have to know that it’s true – they have to know.”

One day, Rapoport was having a conversation with a source and discovered through their conversation that Rob Gronkowski had informed the New England Patriots that he would return to the game of football under the stipulation he be traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to reunite with quarterback Tom Brady. There had been much speculation pertaining to Gronkowski’s future after he had worked as an NFL analyst with FOX Sports, and now Rapoport realized he had a monumental scoop – that is, if it was true. Within six minutes, Rapoport verified the story with three sources, contacted his editor and reported to the world Gronkowski’s intentions. The story was picked up virtually everywhere.

“I just think about the job all the time, and I make little lists for myself of things that I need to track down, and I just make a lot of phone calls for it,” Rapoport said. “When I’m working, when I’m not working – my brain is still going on overdrive. It ends up just a brain full of football thoughts, and then I spend the rest of the time trying to figure out what I can learn from it.”

Working for a league-owned entity can sometimes epitomize an inherent conflict of interest. For Rapoport however, he has found working at NFL Network to be hassle-free. He knows, however, the nature of his job means he will not be universally liked.

“Whatever you do, you’re going to report and the people you report on are going to be happy or upset or neutral – or whatever it is,” Rapoport said. “I’m never going to criticize a referee, for instance, because that’s a nuanced thing and people might say, ‘NFL criticizes referees.’ I’m never going to do that, but I wouldn’t do that anyway.”

Rapoport continues to appear on a variety of external media outlets, perhaps most notably The Pat McAfee Show, which recently concluded its “Up to Something Season.” The grand conclusion of the proceedings was McAfee announcing he would be bringing his show to ESPN’s linear and digital platforms starting in the fall. 

While McAfee is retaining creative control and has expressed on multiple occasions that his show will not be changing, many have wondered whether insiders employed by other networks will be able to continue making appearances. It is an answer Rapoport himself does not know, nor has he asked about.

“When the news broke, my phone blew up with all sorts of people saying all sorts of different things,” Rapoport said. “I have no idea. I really don’t.”

Even so, Rapoport is elated for McAfee and his team taking the next step in their show’s journey and is genuinely glad to see them succeed. He does not think McAfee’s goal was to reshape sports media, but rather to cultivate a distinctive sports talk program built for fans and today’s generation of consumers.

“You get to know someone and you think they’re a good person and you respect the way they work. Some people have success and some people have a little success and some people don’t. It’s really rare to see someone who has every bit of success that’s essentially possible and deserves every bit of it, and that’s kind of how I thought about Pat. It’s really cool, honestly. He’s built it himself.”

It was on McAfee’s show where another prominent football insider – Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk and NBC Sports – said it would be a matter of “when,” not “if” the NFL would have games seven days per week. While devoted football fans like Rapoport are open to such a proposition, he is not sure the league would ever go that far. 

“I don’t even know that it would affect my schedule that much,” he said. “It sort of doesn’t matter. I’ll report all year round anyway.”

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Face-to-Face Sales Meetings Have Never Been More Valuable

“With the increase in virtual meetings, new buyer preferences, limited time, and better tech, we have our work cut out to get the F2F.”

Jeff Caves




When did you last attend a face-to-face (F2F) in-person sales call? Let’s imagine for a second.

In New York, Sarah, a determined sports radio salesperson, got tired of chasing a major client for months. Despite her calls, emails, and text, she couldn’t break through to get a meeting. 

Throwing caution to the wind, Sarah decided to go for it. She loaded her deck and took her burning desire via airplane to Florida to make the pitch. She showed up unannounced at the client’s office and startled the decision-maker. She was given the meeting and won over the client, getting a substantial annual contract and a movie deal in Hollywood. 

We have all seen that storyline. F2F meetings used to be the obvious choice over a phone call, and most buyers were open to that idea. We even conducted market trips to meet our buyers in person and create better relationships. 

With the increase in virtual meetings, new buyer preferences, limited time, and better tech, we have our work cut out to get the F2F. Lots of us work and listen from home. 

Gartner Research points out that live, in person selling is superior to virtual selling in financial services or, as I think, in radio sales. Now, prospecting new clients F2F is much more difficult. You have never met them, you don’t know who you are looking for, and gatekeepers and remote decision-makers make walk-ins more challenging. 

How about getting out and seeing your current or former clients F2F? 65% of outside account executives attain quota, 10% more often than inside reps. Here are some simple strategies to get outside and F2F:


Turn the sales faucet on ‘drip’ and contact your current clients with whatever works: phone calls, emails, or texts. Tell them you are checking in to see if anything has changed, give them a local business lead, or share your latest insight on their favorite team. When doing so, tell them you want to meet F2F and go deep into the next quarter’s ad plan or a new idea to get them back on the air. They may start looking forward to your communication. 


Schedule an annual review ahead of their busiest time of year to review the upcoming messaging in ads. Go over what worked or didn’t last year. Share a success story of a similar advertiser in another market or show them a new opportunity that fits. 

Be upfront that with F2F, we can get more specific, work with better feedback, and partner on hitting their goals. Be the person who looks ahead and helps keep your client focused.


Organize workshops for your current clients. Teach that about streaming, OTT, or Google ads. Get your digital person involved. Let them know you are bringing in other local businesspeople they may want to know or network with and meet F2F! A Mortgage broker may want to meet a realtor who wants to meet a wealthy local businessperson interested in meeting the local head coach. Stand out as a leader in the industry and watch clients brag about working with you. 


Attend trade shows where your current clients will be. This will show you are serious about their business and want to stay current so you can learn and earn. Set up a meeting over coffee or a drink. Share what you learned. 


Client Appreciation Events held at your town’s most meaningful events or places. Do whatever it takes to get hospitality tents at big games and concert suites to show appreciation and bond with your current clients. Host a luncheon at the hottest new local restaurant. Focus on providing an atmosphere or experience everyone wants, but not many can attend. Be the exclusive person in town.


Leverage your existing client relationships to seek referrals. Do it in person. Tell them you want to see them and ask for help and advice. Ask for introductions to potential new clients they know, and you will be surprised how much they like working with you. 


Bring your Digital manager to them and do a free review of their SEO, PPC, whatever. Working off your client’s pc and bringing them an expert at no charge or obligation is much easier. Watch your partnership grow by providing so much expertise at no extra expense. 

Don’t forget the value of F2F meetings. It’s a great way to build trust, connect, and unlock new opportunities. We are in a people business doing business with tons of local directs who still make most of their money serving retail customers F2F. Let’s get out and sell! 

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All Jason Timpf Needed Was A Moment of Clarity

“I didn’t know it until after I was hired, but they said they played my video for Colin and he knew right away that I could do this.”

Tyler McComas




There was once a time when Jason Timpf always included Colin Cowherd in his commute to work. As he made his morning drive to a sales job at Verizon, The Herd was appointment listening each morning for Timpf. The ex-college basketball player would marvel at Cowherd’s ability to make relatable references and break down all of the same basketball games he would watch the night before. 

One of the unique things Timpf can remember from listening to The Herd during that time was Cowherd saying if FOX ever put someone in front of him, he could tell in five seconds if that individual had the skills to be a host. It was far from a hot take on the Lakers, but still a distinct moment that stuck with Timpf for many years. Little did he know at the time but Cowherd would soon give a five-second evaluation of Timpf’s career.

Jason Timpf was a late-bloomer in basketball. He played college hoops at an NAIA school in Utah, but not until his third year, after being a regular student the first two. After graduating, he pursued a basketball career overseas in India. However, after the league folded, he left the game for a normal job in the States.

There was a real desire for Timpf to get into the sports media business, but he was having difficulties finding the right fit. He wanted advice on the best way to start, but the tips he received just didn’t feel like the right initial path.

“I’d hear, hey, go bang on a radio station’s door and ask if you can work the soundboard,” said Timpf. “Or, try to go to a journalism school. Another big one that everyone was doing was the SB Nation blogs and FanSided blogs. I briefly tried to do that a little bit. But none of it was materializing the way that I had hoped.”

But then the lightbulb went off for Timpf and it happened during the middle of a podcast interview. In October of 2020, Jason Maples of Blue Wire reached out to Timpf to talk hoops on his podcast. It was in the middle of that interview when it all made sense. It felt exactly like the camaraderie he enjoyed with his old teammates and friends talking basketball. It was relaxed, fun and what he used to do for enjoyment. The perfect fit had just found Timpf organically. 

“It was, ‘this is it,’” said Timpf. “‘This is how I want to do it.’ It was like a moment of clarity. Like, this is the way I want to talk about the game. Fortunately, I was working in real estate at the time, so I was super flexible, so I literally was just trying to fake it until I made it.”

While Timpf was grinding away on his new platform choice, he was constantly putting out his content on social media. For a handful of years, he had used Twitter as an outlet for basketball talk – not because he was trying to build his brand, but because it was his preferred method of sharing his takes during and after basketball games. 

“My wife actually played basketball in college but she, like a lot of people, got out of it and was like, ‘actually I’m so sick of basketball, since it’s all I did growing up, that I’d rather not talk about it,’” laughed Timpf. 

As Timpf had built up years of basketball takes on Twitter, he also built up followers. Not a crazy amount, but enough to have regular interactions with several basketball fans. He had no idea at the time, though he remembers occasionally interacting with him, but one of his followers in the beginning was Logan Swaim, who just happens to be Head of Content at The Volume.

Being such a huge fan of Cowherd, Timpf was absolutely familiar with The Volume, a company started by the FOX Sports Radio host. In fact, during his first plunge into podcasts, he quickly took note of how much success The Volume was having with instant reaction and video content. He wanted to emulate what they were doing and would host a Twitter Space after each Lakers game.

Swaim kept up with Timpf’s journey and continued to be impressed with what he saw. He was so impressed, in fact, that a video eventually made it in front of Cowherd’s eyes. It was the moment Timpf had always heard about while driving to his job at Verizon. Cowherd was about to make a declaration on Timpf’s abilities. 

“I didn’t know it until after I was hired, but they said they played my video for Colin and he knew right away that I could do this,” Timpf said. “That was a huge boost of confidence for me, because it meant somebody I deeply respected believed I could work in this business.”

Timpf made his dream come true. He was offered a job by The Volume hosting Hoops Tonight. As much of a dream as it was when he was initially hired, the experience since has been nothing but ideal for Timpf. He gets to cover his favorite sport the way he wants to cover it. 

“When I first started and Logan and I were structuring out the show, he kinda viewed it as my show would be the slower, more methodical pace, where I work through my thought process of a game. And also that I’d be a guest on other Volume shows for more conversational podcasts. I really wanted to break down pick and roll coverage. It’s just going to take me a while, so trying to do that in a debate show format or conversational format can get hard. It’s a place where I can let more of my crazy depth out. And I can also have a side format where it’s more conversational.”

Timpf has learned prep for podcasts is one of the biggest elements to being successful. As Hoops Tonight continues to draw impressive numbers over audio and YouTube, he’s figured out the best method to prepare for a long-form podcast where he’s hosting solo. 

“I digest the game from the simple concept of how the game was won,” said Timpf. “Where was it won? There’s 100-something possessions in this game, there’s seven different storylines and several runs and sequences and sways in momentum, but what’s the one? Usually I’ll target that first in the opening segment of the show.

“While I’m watching the game I’ll take ancillary notes. About five minutes before I record, I sift through everything I’ve written down and limit it down to the things I think are most important. But generally the flow of the show is how the game was won.”

The whole experience has been gratifying and a full-circle moment in many ways for Timpf. Not only has it been vindicating to do things his way and see it become a success, but he’s gotten to do it with someone who he considers an idol.

Sure, Timpf always envisioned growing up he would be talking to Cowherd as a pro athlete, but talking to him as a colleague is certainly the next best thing. So when he got the call to talk with Cowherd during last year’s West Conference Finals, he didn’t hesitate.

“I was so incredibly nervous, as you could imagine,” laughed Timpf. “But I immediately remember him making me feel comfortable and confident. It immediately calmed me down.

“This is probably my favorite part of the entire experience, I think a lot of people think that these networks try to shove people in certain directions and The Volume has given me such freedom to cover the game exactly the way I want to and nobody is telling me to say crazy stuff. Nobody is pushing me in certain directions, it’s like total creative freedom. The way that Logan and Colin have been letting me do me, so to speak, has been so cool. To see my version of what I want it to look like makes me feel vindicated for talking about it the way I want to.”

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